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Post Mortem on Team USA and the World Cup


Newbomb

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It's time on the evening of the US Men's National team loss to do a post mortem of what we saw for the 2014 world cup effort. The good. We made it out of the "Group of Death" with a last minute goal against Ghana who we had never beaten before. A heartbreaking 2-2 tie against Portugal and a 1-0 loss against a now semi finalist Germany. Many felt that we would never get that far and in the glare of the limelight of this group it was a great accomplishment but in exiting the group our team aired its laundry. Our problems were numerous and for all to see. The first piece of laundry to be aired was that we really have no replacement for Jozy Altidore. The USA's attack relies on a big forward that can hold up play when given the ball, whether it is in transition or on the attack. We were dangerous on the attack in the Ghana game when Jozy had the ball at his feet and it was shown on the very play that he strained his hamstring. The US also relied on Jozy to hold the ball when exiting their half of the field. This problem was underscored by the lack of US possession of the ball. Upon injury Coach K inserted Aron Johnnsson he so underwhelmed that we never saw him again. Clint Dempsey was asked to play the Altidore role and that is not where Clint is at his best Clint is a creator and I often wonder if we might of done better with him in the #10 role. Stats show that the US was third in ball possession of the four teams in the "Group of Death". My own nephew praised Tim Howard for his effort in goal but trashed our defense. I see things a bit differently. Howard is a world class keeper but the problem was not the defense it was the midfield. Many times the US could not get out of its own third because of weak midfield play. Defense would force a turnover midfield could not hold the ball and the attack would be back at the USA's defense once again. Our defense was not the problem no team can just sit back and absorb an offense all game long. Speaking of midfield Michael Bradley was asked to play a role that he is ill equipped to do. He was asked to be the #10, the orchestrator of the offense. Bradley is a great Defensive Midfielder and had excellent service to Green on the US's goal against Belgium but he is not the creator of opportunities. The US has no #10 that I can see. Where we did not get great play is at outside midfielder and this is where I strongly disagree with Coach Klinsman's lack of selection of Landon Donovan who might of provided some attacking option. Coach K saw Donovan as a forward not as a wide midfielder even though when the Coach played Donovan in all but one game he played midfield in the one and only game he did not he played in Dempsey's withdrawn forward position. Bedoya, Zuzi and Evans were are various degrees of disappointing in that role. Zuzi's corner kick led to a US goal but corner kicks have been Donavan's specialty. Coach K's moves with Yeldon and Green off the bench shows why he has an eye for talent and these two players should wear USA National team shirts into 2018 and beyond. Pt #2 the future coming soon...

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My concern is almost 20+ years of player development in the US hasn't produced a #10 (midfielder) with great ball skills at the highest level. The last guy I remember who came close was Claudio Reyna (interestingly the last time we went into quarterfinals 2002).

Its a positiion that combines those great dribbling skills with passing and attack. A lot of kids I watch play, seem to have one of the two, they could dribble well but very average passers of the ball or vice versa.

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Thanks for the analysis.

As a TOTAL soccer/futbol novice my assessment was pretty basic:

If you spend the entire game defending your own goal, eventually something bad will happen.

If you don't attack the other team's goal, you are not going to score.

JMO but the Belgian goalie could have taken the game off and they probably would have still won the game. Howard IMO was fantastic but take enough shots at him and sooner or later something will get by.

Hard fought game but from the novice view, the US was never really in the game, despite the nil-nil score at the end of regulation.

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I agree, 64. When you expend that much energy defending your own goal it's hard to get breaks and put pressure on the other team. I played many years ago but I remember this point so well. It is draining trying to defend your side.

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It's time on the evening of the US Men's National team loss to do a post mortem of what we saw for the 2014 world cup effort. The good. We made it out of the "Group of Death" with a last minute goal against Ghana who we had never beaten before. A heartbreaking 2-2 tie against Portugal and a 1-0 loss against a now semi finalist Germany. Many felt that we would never get that far and in the glare of the limelight of this group it was a great accomplishment but in exiting the group our team aired its laundry. Our problems were numerous and for all to see. The first piece of laundry to be aired was that we really have no replacement for Jozy Altidore. The USA's attack relies on a big forward that can hold up play when given the ball, whether it is in transition or on the attack. We were dangerous on the attack in the Ghana game when Jozy had the ball at his feet and it was shown on the very play that he strained his hamstring. The US also relied on Jozy to hold the ball when exiting their half of the field. This problem was underscored by the lack of US possession of the ball. Upon injury Coach K inserted Aron Johnnsson he so underwhelmed that we never saw him again. Clint Dempsey was asked to play the Altidore role and that is not where Clint is at his best Clint is a creator and I often wonder if we might of done better with him in the #10 role. Stats show that the US was third in ball possession of the four teams in the "Group of Death". My own nephew praised Tim Howard for his effort in goal but trashed our defense. I see things a bit differently. Howard is a world class keeper but the problem was not the defense it was the midfield. Many times the US could not get out of its own third because of weak midfield play. Defense would force a turnover midfield could not hold the ball and the attack would be back at the USA's defense once again. Our defense was not the problem no team can just sit back and absorb an offense all game long. Speaking of midfield Michael Bradley was asked to play a role that he is ill equipped to do. He was asked to be the #10, the orchestrator of the offense. Bradley is a great Defensive Midfielder and had excellent service to Green on the US's goal against Belgium but he is not the creator of opportunities. The US has no #10 that I can see. Where we did not get great play is at outside midfielder and this is where I strongly disagree with Coach Klinsman's lack of selection of Landon Donovan who might of provided some attacking option. Coach K saw Donovan as a forward not as a wide midfielder even though when the Coach played Donovan in all but one game he played midfield in the one and only game he did not he played in Dempsey's withdrawn forward position. Bedoya, Zuzi and Evans were are various degrees of disappointing in that role. Zuzi's corner kick led to a US goal but corner kicks have been Donavan's specialty. Coach K's moves with Yeldon and Green off the bench shows why he has an eye for talent and these two players should wear USA National team shirts into 2018 and beyond. Pt #2 the future coming soon...

Agree. The main issue was not our defending, which was even spectacular at times -- it was our lack of control of the midfield.

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As someone said today, when it comes to this sport on the world level the USA is a mid-major.

Middle was definitely where the problem was, it had zero control over the play.

The real problem for the US is this..... our players that could be at that level stay in or comeback to the MLS. Until the league has the funding to bring in prime players, and not ones that at are at the end of their careers, the US is going to suffer from not playing at a world level everyday.

Our players have to start playing daily overseas.

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As someone said today, when it comes to this sport on the world level the USA is a mid-major.

Middle was definitely where the problem was, it had zero control over the play.

The real problem for the US is this..... our players that could be at that level stay in or comeback to the MLS. Until the league has the funding to bring in prime players, and not ones that at are at the end of their careers, the US is going to suffer from not playing at a world level everyday.

Our players have to start playing daily overseas.

Bradley just moved back from overseas late last summer. Jones plays in the Turkish first division. Bedoya plays in the French First Division. That's 3/4's of your middle Beckerman and Zusi got starts they are based in the MLS... I will try to highlight more of the my thoughts in a post either tomorrow or early next week With an emphasis on the future.

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